Family and Money: 5 Tips for Stopping Dependency Now!
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answer will hurt the relationship.

And most of all, realize that if you saying “No” does hurt the relationship, then the relationship wasn’t nearly as strong as you thought, or it wasn’t built on the right foundation, because no family relationship or friendship should be dependent upon one person’s ability or willingness to give cash or loans to the other party. Even if cash money is not at stake, the same holds true for relatives and friends who ask you to provide your credit, by doing things like co-signing for car loans or credit cards.

4. Address the person’s situation realistically

Most of us don’t ask ourselves the right question when considering a request to supply assets, loans, or credit to family members or friends. The right question, as mentioned above, is: “Why am I hesitant about saying ‘no’”? Instead of this question, though, most of us consciously or subconsciously ask ourselves this very different question: “What will happen if I say ‘no’”? Let’s deal realistically with this question: “What will happen if I say ‘no’”? And then let me explain why this is precisely the wrong question to ask yourself. Assume someone – let’s say your brother – has asked you for $200 to pay his cell phone bill. If he doesn’t pay it within three days, his phone service will be disconnected. He’s broke and doesn’t have the cash to pay the bill. So he asks you for a loan.

The truth of the matter is that if you say ‘No,’ there are only four possible outcomes: 1)   The person is forced to turn elsewhere for help (In this case, your brother might go ask someone else for money).

2)   The person comes up with the money on their own (Using this example, your brother might sell something he owns to raise the $200 he needs).

3)   The person is forced to get creative to come up with a solution to their problem (Your brother could work out a deal to pay the phone company $100 next week and $100 two weeks from then).

4)   The person suffers the consequence of not being able to raise the money needed (Under the “worst case” scenario, your brother doesn’t get his hands on the $200 and his phone does indeed gets disconnected). Note that three out of the four possible scenarios are reasonably good outcomes that could realistically solve your brother’s problem without you having to step in and play financial savior.

But when you ask yourself the question, “What will happen if I say ‘No’”? your mind automatically tends to go to the “worst case scenario” for the other person. You start thinking about the other party’s immediate, often dire need. So you naturally think something like: “If I don’t give them the money, their telephone or lights are going to get disconnected; their car will get repossessed; or they won’t have money to pay this or that bill.”

Often times, the person asking you for money will tell you that they’re coming to you as “a last resort.” Or they will emphasize: “You know I wouldn’t ask you if I didn’t really and truly need it.” These statements may or may not be true.

5. Why Breaking the Cycle of Dependency Is For the Best

But even if you opt not to bail the person out, and they suffer the consequences of their inability to pay their bills, maybe it’s actually for the best. For you and for them. Maybe by saying “No” you break the cycle of their dependency on you. And who knows? By saying “No” you might help that individual face some truths about their own situation.

Maybe the person who can’t routinely afford that cell phone doesn’t really need it. Or the person who isn’t able to consistently keep up with timely car payments should probably be driving a less expensive car.

Even the person who’s calling you at the 11th hour, in a bid to save their home from foreclosure, should stop and think (as you should) about why they’re in that predicament. Maybe the simple truth is that they can’t really afford that home. So even if you gave them money now, it would probably just be a short-term fix to a larger, long-term problem. I don’t mean to sound harsh. And honestly, I’m not one to be cold and unfeeling toward someone in need. But I also recognize patterns of financial behavior and how they can impact one’s own life – and the lives of those around us.

Is it really up to you to constantly come to the rescue of someone who is being irresponsible, making bad financial choices, or who simply is a poor money manager? I don’t think so – no matter how much you love the person.

If you constantly bail someone out economically, you are simply enabling their behavior,